The Austin Trail of Lights and Robert F. Smith Are Ushering in the Holiday Spirit

Austin Trail of Lights

It is the holiday season once again, and the Austin Trail of Lights is ready to bring joy to Texas children and adults through a dazzling light extravaganza. Once simply a trail of lights that visitors drove through, the event now features more than 2 million lights, 90 lighted holiday trees and 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels that patrons can visit on foot. It is the longest-running and most beloved holiday event of its kind in the area, and annually, the event draws in more than 425,000 visitors who are looking to experience the holiday spirit.

Reimagined Austin Trail of Lights 2020

This year, the Austin Trail of Lights is going back to its roots, becoming a drive-thru only event. Visitors of the 56th Annual Austin Trail of Lights, which will run from November 28, 2020 – January 3, 2021, will be required to purchase a ticket for their preferred date and time and stay in their cars to enjoy the display. They will tune in via car radio to hear holiday music, event highlights and history and more.

“Being able to bring the Trail of Lights to Austin in 2020, regardless of the format, is very important to the Foundation,” said Rachel Green, President of the Trail of Lights Foundation. “With holiday magic at every bend in the road, this experience is one that will bring joy to so many.” 

Each vehicle entering the trail is allowed up to nine passengers, and there are general and premium passes available. The Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run will still take place this year as well, but it will be completed virtually. The Austin Trail of Lights will also continue to host the STARS at the Trail Program this year, allowing free entry for over 30 nonprofit partners in the community. 

Smith’s “Resurrection” of the Austin Trail of Lights 

While this year’s event may look a little different, the Austin Trail of Lights continues to delight visitors during these trying times, thanks to the support of sponsors and donors like Austin’s own Robert F. Smith. Smith has been a partner of the event since its “resurrection” in 2012. In 2009, after decades in operation, the Austin Trail of Lights was downsized due to lack of funding and then briefly canceled in 2010. Luckily, because of support from patrons, such as Smith, the event was reinstated and is now one of the most popular of the season. In fact, the Austin Trail of Lights was voted one of the 10 Best Public Display of Holiday Lights by USA Today. 

Smith’s Connection to the Candy Land Holiday Display

When the Austin Trail of Lights was resurrected in 2012, Smith challenged the event to create the ultimate candy display to entice both children and adults alike. The Austin Trail of Lights met that challenge with their remarkable Candy Land feature. As of 2019, the display features live candy demonstrations from local candy makers, an interactive candy machine and candy samples distributed by Santa’s elves. Candy Land ensures that every child leaves with a piece of candy and a touch of holiday spirit. 

Smith, however, is not simply the visionary of the Candy Land feature at the Austin Trail of Lights. He is also its major sponsor, as the candy display has been supported by the Robert F. Smith Family Foundation since its inception. Other aspects of the event, including the STARS at the Trail Program and Santa’s Workshop, are sponsored by Vista Equity Partners, the investment firm in which Smith is Founder, Chairman and CEO. Learn more about the Austin Trail of Lights and how you too can experience this joyous event.